Safety Tips For Driving in Baja Mexico's Baja Peninsula is one of the last wild frontiers accessible by car from the US and Canada. Every year thousands of adventurous travelers embark on road trips to Baja, but unfortunately not everyone knows makes adequate preparations for staying out of trouble and dealing with emergencies. This article will review a few safety tips and preparations you should consider prior to crossing the border in order to help you enjoy your Baja road trip. Always purchase Mexican auto insurance before you cross the border US and Canadian auto insurance is not recognized by the Mexican authorities, so you will need to purchase Mexico car insurance before you cross into Mexico. The vast majority of Baja travelers choose to purchase their Mexico auto insurance off the internet prior to leaving their house for Mexico. The internet is the most convenient and economical place for acquiring Mexican insurance, but if you forget to buy Mexico insurance on the internet, you can also get your insurance at the last minute at an insurance location at the border. Make sure to carry a copy of your Mexican insurance in your vehicle and a separate copy in your wallet or other location outside of your car. In the unfortunate event that your car is stolen, you do not want your only copy of insurance to be in the glove compartment. Not having a copy of your Mexico insurance will make it incredibly difficult to file your Mexican insurance claim. If you are in an auto accident, the Mexican authorities will also want to see your proof of Mexican auto insurance. Never drive at night This is one of the oldest rules in Baja car travel, but every year there are hundreds of accidents that could have been avoided if people would just get off the road before nightfall. The most frequent night accidents are caused by livestock that wanders onto the roads at night. Cows, horses, pigs, and goats have a habit of grazing and strolling onto the roads at night, and they seem to always choose blind corners and the backsides of hills to set up shop. People have been killed by cows flying through their windshields, so please take this warning seriously. Baja highways are also very poorly lit, and it can be very hard to see any debris on the road or road damage. All of the road hazards become a lot more dangerous and difficult to avoid at night. Finally, the vast majority of road related crimes such as car jackings and other robberies occur on the roads at night. For all of these reasons, you should just make it a rule to be off the Baja highways well before the sun goes down. Always drive the speed limit or slower The Baja Tran peninsular highway was originally designed to allow for two semi-trucks to pass each other while traveling in opposite directions without knocking each other's mirrors off. That was the design goal, and they just barely achieved this mission. Most of the highway is a simple two lane highway with one lane going in each direction. There are no dividers, so you are literally only a few feet, if not inches, from the traffic traveling in the opposite direction. To make things even more precarious, much of the highway only has a few inches of shoulder. Outside of the shoulder, the ground can drop a few feet or more, so falling off the road could easily result in flipping your vehicle on its side. So you should always go the speed limit, and it is also recommended that you slow down to a crawl when semi-trucks approach you from the opposite direction. Drive defensively Baja is known to have some pretty risky drivers. Also, more than fifty percent of the local drivers do not have insurance. So you will lessen your odds of having a fender bender with a local if you allow locals the right of way whenever there is a possibility of your vehicles impacting. Some tourist drivers just assume that every other driver is willing to crash into them if needed, and this helps them to drive defensively. If you are willing to put your driving ego aside and yield to others who are driving more aggressively, you are more likely to avoid an impact. Avoid getting your vehicle stolen Baja has a reputation for being a car thief's paradise, but the insurance data actually does not reflect a theft rate much higher than in the US. In order to minimize the possibility of getting your vehicle stolen, you should use some sort of visual anti-theft device. Although the steering wheel clubs are not fool proof, they can be a good deterrent which can cause a potential thief move on to an easier target. You should also try to park in a clearly visible area where other people and cars are around. At night, you should only park at hotels or parks that have 24 hour security. Almost all of the decent hotels will have gated parking lots with at least one security person keeping watch round the clock. If you can follow these simple suggestions, you will significantly decrease your chances of having an accident or loss while driving in Baja. Then you can concentrate on having fun in the beautiful Baja Peninsula. Jeff Nordahl is an avid traveler to Mexico, and he has been involved in the Mexican auto insurance industry for over 10 years. You can read more about Mexico travel or purchase Mexican auto insurance from these websites.
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